CD Review: Halcyon Digest [2010]

Band: Deerhunter
Release: 9/2010
Label: 4AD

1. “Earthquake” – B-
2. “Don’t Cry” – A
3. “Revival” – A
4. “Sailing” – A
5. “Memory Boy” – A_
6. “Desire Lines” – A
7. “Basement Scene” – A-
8. “Helicopter” – A-
9. “Fountain Stairs” – A-
10. “Coronado” – A
11. “He Would Have Laughed” – A+

Comments: Deerhunter is another one of those bands whose releases I greatly anticipate. Last year’s EP Rainwater Cassette Exchange tickled my fancy, as I gave it about as high of a grade as anything else I heard. I anticipated that I’d be doing the same with this LP. Not the case. There are some cuts that seem like leftovers from Rainwater: the jungle-jangle “Revival,” coincidentally the best song on here, the upbeat saxophone-included ditty “Coronado,”and “Don’t Cry,” an engaging encounter with a youngster who’s in a difficult situation similar to the one that Bradford was in at the same age. Though, more likely, it might just be adult Bradford talking to child Bradford. Next topic: atmospheric songs. These are quintessential to Deerhunter’s discography and probably always will be. Atmosphere + singing is a little bit better than plain old instrumental, but I’m a proponent in the belief that a band can do without these. The folk-tinged “Memory Boy” delves into some thought provoking issues. “Is there anyone who wants to see the sun go down, down, down, down, down, down, down?!” “Desire Lines” has Lockett Pundt and crew taking a stab via vocals, dominant bass lines, arpeggios, and consistent drum beats at the sound of ’90s alternative. “Basement Scene” is reminiscent of ’50s and ’60s Buddy Holly/girl group material with, of course, a decent amount of psychedelia thrown in the stew. “Helicopter” is refreshing and, for lack of a better word, chill. The Jay Reatard dedicated “He Would Have Left” is a similarly chill exposition that holds up well over its near 8 minute length. In conclusion, this record deserves a spot among Deerhunter’s best. It might not contain several game-changing songs that Microcastle or Rainwater possessed, but it does come close.

Grade: A- (92)